Do Wolves and Dogs Really Howl at the Moon? Uncover the Truth

The image of a lone wolf howling under a full moon is deeply ingrained in human thought and has become a topic of fascination. In Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, the famous titular character says, upon hearing the wolves howling at the moon, "Listen to them, the children of the night." "What music they make!"

Fact or Fiction: Wolves, Dogs, and Howling at the Moon
Wolves and dogs communicate through howling and barking at night

But is it true that wolf howl at the moon?

Do wolves actually howl at the moon?

While wolves do howl at night, it is not necessarily connected to the moon's presence. Wolves are highly social creatures, using howling to communicate across vast distances, especially in deep woodlands or steep terrain where visual contact is limited. They also howl to mark territory boundaries.

Wolves show their excitement or distress through howling as well. In fact, research has shown that the frequency of wolf howling can increase during times of social tension or when a pack member is missing.

Howling at the Moon: The Truth About Wolves and Dogs
The moon's brightness helps wolves navigate their environment when hunting at night

Why the Moon?

Studies have shown that wolves are more active on full moon nights. The increased visibility provided by the moonlight makes hunting easier, leading to more frequent and intense howling calls. Given all this, it can be said that wolves don't howl at the moon; rather, they howl more during the full moon as they communicate more with one another.

While they may be more active during a full moon, their howling behavior is not directly tied to the lunar cycle. In fact, wolves may howl at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the moon is visible in the sky

Wolf howling in the art and culture 

In Norse mythology, wolves Sk├Âll and Hati pursue the sun and moon, serving to elucidate the day and night cycles for Vikings. Numerous Native Americans see the wolf as a spiritual animal, with Pawnee belief seeing the act of howling at the moon as a way to connect with ancestors or the Great Spirit. The moon-associated Greek goddess Artemis is often portrayed alongside wolves. In Gothic literature and horror novels, the appearance of the full moon causes people to morph into werewolves.

Unveiling the Myth: Do Wolves and Dogs Howl at the Moon?
The Tarot's 18th Major Arcana card, The Moon

The concept of a link between wolves and the moon is also present in the Tarot. The Moon card in the Major Arcana shows a dog and a wolf howling at the moon in the nighttime sky. As the moon moves across the sky, it gradually fades into the distance without acknowledging their presence.

Psychologists suggest that the continuous symbolism of the moon and its association with wolves and dogs in various cultures represents the primal archetype found in the subconscious mind of humanity.

Dogs barking at the moon

A lot of you may have heard or been woken up by the far-off sound of dogs barking late at night, as if they were surprised by something. What is the reason for these nighttime barks?

Dogs frequently bark at night as a result of hearing distant barking from another dog and reacting by barking in return. Dogs possess excellent hearing abilities that enable them to detect sounds from distances of 1.5 to 2 miles (2.4 to 3.2 kilometers) in ideal circumstances.

Moreover, lots of wild animals are active during nighttime, prompting dogs to bark due to the sounds or smells of creatures like raccoons, possums, or other dogs in the vicinity.

Exploring Dog Nocturnal Behavior: Is it True that Dogs Bark at the Moon?
While more active at night, wolves and certain dog breeds still require periods of rest during the day to maintain their energy level

Wolves howl and dogs bark during the night as part of their natural behavior. While environmental factors related to the moon can influence their behavior, the moon does not directly. Instead, wolves and dogs respond to various stimuli in their environment, such as distant sounds, scents, and the presence of other animals.

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